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Anyone make their own chess set?


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14 replies to this topic

#1 of 15 OFFLINE   Dave Poehlman

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Posted June 19 2007 - 08:02 AM

My son just learned how to play chess... and I had some scrap wood lying around.. so I put together a chess board with some spare plywood to replace the cheap plastic one we've got:

Posted Image

I'm really surprised how well it turned out considering just a few days ago it was a piece of 1/4" plywood lying on my garage floor and the only tools used were a miter saw and a circular saw.

So, now I'd like to hand craft some pieces for it... or at the very least find some unfinished ones that I could stain to match the board. I'm not a carver by trade.. I'd probably sever an artery if I attempted whittling. Posted Image Surprisingly there's not a lot out on the web about making your own pieces.

I stopped by a local craft store to see if they had some sort of beads and dowels I could glue together into pieces. They had some that could work.. but not enough to make an entire set.

Anyone out there make a set of their own?

#2 of 15 OFFLINE   ZacharyTait

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Posted June 19 2007 - 08:41 AM

http://www.abebooks.....cm_cat=1069410

Make sure you send a check to Andy Dufresne and Ellis Boyd Redding after you're done! Posted Image

#3 of 15 OFFLINE   Dave Poehlman

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Posted June 19 2007 - 10:30 AM

Yeah, that book came up in a few of my searches. Maybe I'll check it out.

Part of the challenge is I want them to all appear as a set... not a hodge-podge of styles. I did find this page, however:

http://www.craftpart...ttle_People.asp

I could use these as pawns:
Posted Image
They have a taller version that could represent the king...

and I could use these as bishops:
Posted Image

and they have a taller version that could represent the queen.

But then I'm faced with the problem of what to use as a knight.. and a castle. I suppose I could saw the head off of the "boy" shape and put some sort of castle top on 'em. I'd prefer the knight to resemble a horse to stick with the Staunton style (I'm learning so much about chess pieces here. Posted Image ) because it's easy to identify. Plus, most of these pieces are pretty skinny. I'd have to find some sort of base to stick 'em in.

#4 of 15 OFFLINE   Greg_R

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Posted June 19 2007 - 10:45 AM

Look in your area for a Rockler or Woodcraft... they have a lot of dowel and wood bead options for sale. They also sell carving equipment (and usually offer classes) if you really wanted to get into it...

#5 of 15 OFFLINE   gene c

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Posted June 19 2007 - 12:09 PM

Many many years ago, when I was 11 or 12, me and a friend (or is it "a friend and I"?) Made our own chess board (but not nearly as nice as yours) out of necessity. We needed a board with 4" squares as we decided to use Matchbox cars as our pieces. His were all foreign cars, mine American. I think I used a bunch of Ford Falcons for Pawns, a couple of Chevy trucks for Rooks, a pair of Mustangs (what else?!!) for Knights. a Lincoln Continental conv as the King, and I painted a Cadillac pink (the first Mary Kay car?) for the Queen. On his side I remember Volkswagon Beetles. Ferrari's, and a Rolls or Jag for the King. It took a few weeks of riding our bikes to all the dime stores in the East Bay looking for just the right pieces. After putting it all together we only played it a few times and then lost interest. Kids.
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#6 of 15 OFFLINE   Dave Poehlman

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Posted June 20 2007 - 01:12 AM

That's a good story, Gene. I'm also considering having my son build some out of legos to tie us over. I'm amazed there aren't any kits out there. With all the pieces precut and unfinished, it's a great craft project for kids to paint/stain and glue together. [thought to self] Hmm... perhaps I should market this. [/thought to self]

#7 of 15 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted June 20 2007 - 02:55 AM

Nothing to add here, but very nice! Jay
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#8 of 15 OFFLINE   Chris Lockwood

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Posted June 20 2007 - 03:17 AM

They have chess sets in stores now. I'm too busy mining my own salt to make a chess set, too.

#9 of 15 OFFLINE   Dave Poehlman

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Posted June 21 2007 - 02:22 PM

Okay.. I happened to swing by my local home improvement center today and, just out of curiousity, I found some wooden wheels that would work as bases and some tiny balusters to work as "bodies".

Later in the day, I happened to be going past the local craft store and found some finials and some spools.

So, here's my prototypes for a rook, bishop and a pawn:

Posted Image

The wood from the craft store seems cheaper than the wood from the home improvement place, so, I don't know how they'll look when stained.

The spool on top of the rook is cut in half. I had to do this by hand.. so, it looks a little rough. I have to figure out how to cut that accurately. I'd also like to cut some notches in the top to give it that castle look.. but, I don't own a scroll saw, so I'm not sure how to pull that off.

I have some ideas for a king and possibly a queen... I'm still stumped on the knights.

#10 of 15 OFFLINE   PhillJones

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Posted June 28 2007 - 04:13 AM


What about, for the knights, take a flat piece of wood and shape it with a junior hack saw and sandpaper

http://www.chessgrap....net/logos5.htm

#11 of 15 OFFLINE   Dave Poehlman

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Posted July 28 2007 - 06:50 AM

Here's the full set.. unfinished:

Posted Image

I thought about your idea about the horsehead cutout for the knights, Phill. But, I wanted something a little more three-dimensional. Although, I'm not completely sold on the "half-egg" shape I've got now... it gets the point across though, I suppose.

#12 of 15 OFFLINE   BrianW

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Posted July 29 2007 - 01:41 AM

Dave, that looks pretty good!
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#13 of 15 OFFLINE   Dave Poehlman

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Posted July 30 2007 - 03:01 AM

Thanks, Brian.

Turns out, HOBBY LOBBY wound up being the "go to" place for parts. They even had unfinished checker pieces:

Posted Image

#14 of 15 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted July 30 2007 - 11:59 AM

Not to be picky... (ahh who am I kidding.. this is being picky Posted Image) but the correct orientation of a chess board is that the white square is always on the players right. So your picture it seems, shows the wrong orientation of the pieces since your right rook is on a black square...

Jay
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#15 of 15 OFFLINE   Dave Poehlman

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Posted August 25 2007 - 03:50 PM

You're right, Jay. LOL.. here's a picture of the finished product with stain that should also drive you nuts. Posted Image

Posted Image

The whole thing has a hand-crafted look that looks pretty handsome on my coffee table, I must say.

If anyone is looking for a parts list, let me know.




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